Morgan and Skip

It’s been too long since I had the chance to sit and write.  Today, I am making the time amidst the chaos of home renos.  My lost time started with our van needing repairs, followed by a bathroom that needed a new floor, which leads to far more work than anticipated, followed by a repainting of our living room which was the wrong colour so that is now being used in the kitchen that my wife is painting while I stop to write.  The kids are back in school, youth groups begin, my son started cadets this year and is already on a weekend camp venture.
The past month has been somewhat of a blur really.  At the same time, two distinct introductions stand clear in my mind.  Morgan and Skip.
While I was up north, when I wrote the post about howling coyotes, I had the chance to meet Morgan.  He is a friend of my mother-in-law’s.  I have long heard of this somewhat reclusive man and wanted to meet him in his home.  I briefly met him a number of years ago, but little more than in introduction.
We made plans to visit him and when we arrived he greeted us at the door welcoming us in.  Morgan lives in a round 45 foot cabin, all one room and very cozy.  He explained to me that he has a different view of the industrialized world which is why he has chosen to live in his cabin.  Morgan’s water supply comes from his catch basins connected to his downspouts leading from his metal roof.  He has only a small generator to power his radio in the cabin, and a series of propane powered lamps that line the inside of his home.  He prepares all of his meals on one of two wood stoves, the other solely for heat.
Morgan’s home is decorated with memories from his past with items such as linens he purchased in other countries, photos from past projects and pottery that he made by hand.  Morgan has traveled the globe.  His last travel was by tall ship that he help sew the sails for.  He has photos that were taken of a home in Peru that he helped rebuild.  The home was a collapsed ruin from the 1500’s.  The archeologist in him was interested in the ruins themselves, but the engineer in him was more interested in recreating the past, and it won over his other feelings.
Morgan was honored that I would want to take pictures of his home and when I brought out my Canon EOS 30D he was immediately interested.  He once was an avid photographer but when the digital age dawned he turned the page on the chapter of his life.  Morgan brought out his old camera that was like new.  I hadn’t held anything like it in my hands before.  It was about half the size of my camera, but at least as heavy.  Looking at his photos from years past, he was quite to photographer for his time.
Did I mention that Morgan was bare chested and wearing skirt?  We talked over dinner about cross dressing and his belief that women began cross dressing during the war when they began work in the factories as men went off to battle.  The women workers had to trade in their dresses for pants and a new age took shape.  Morgan, although he won’t wear his skirt in town, since some people couldn’t handle it in the small northern town, wears it at home as it is comfortable and freeing.  I don’t think my kids could handle it if I wore a skirt.  Imagine if I showed up at a bike event in a skirt!  Good for you Morgan.  As odd as it struck me, I respect his stand for what he believes.
I will keep in touch with Morgan.  I will write him soon, since he doesn’t have email.
Two weeks after meeting Morgan, I met Skip.  I received a call from our chapter president, Terry, saying that Skip called him and was interested in working with the Tillsonburg Chapter of Heaven’s Saints Motorcycle Ministry.  Cool.  Who’s Skip?  Apparently he had seen us flying the flag on the way to Friday the 13th in Port Dover and became interested.  A few weeks later he read an article that I had written about a fund raising ride we were doing for Fresh Start that ran in a local paper.  He went online, read about the ministry and called us.
On the day of the ride, Skip came out to meet us at the church where we began our ride.  Nice man.  He’s in a band called Mercy Train.  He has a long history in the music industry, playing with people like Janis Joplin and Steve Miller.  I know those names, sounds interesting.  As it turns out, Skip is the Skip Prokop from Lighthouse.  Now I was able to begin putting this all together.  While our Chaplain, Dave, and I were talking with Skip, he explained that while he was on our website, he was encouraged and moved that we took a stand for our beliefs, spoke the word and didn’t hide behind our colours.  Skip felt lead to work alongside our chapter should the circumstance arise that we needed a band for any events.  Before we parted way, Skip gave us his email address, a few CD’s and a bio that he had printed off.
As the week went on, I learned more about Skip, listening to the Mercy Train CD, reading online about the man and the bands like Lighthouse and The Paupers, and hearing from someone that since Skip had contacted us, we shouldn’t “let him go” as he was the best and most sought after drummer in the music industry of his time.
When I got around to emailing Skip, he called me and left a message to call him at home.  As soon as I did, we made arrangements to get together for lunch at his place.  Interesting.  Skip is a four time Juno award winner, has gold and platinum albums as well as numerous other awards from his time with Lighthouse, which by the way, continues to perform today.  
When I arrived to meet Skip at his home, it was the usual getting to know a person sort of thing.  His home had just been completely renovated and we swapped stories as I had just had to tear apart my bathroom, and would be working through the rest of the house over time.
As we sat at the dining table and drank coffee, I listened as Skip opened up about his life, his success, he challenges, his good times and the bad.  He is a living example that no matter how big a person gets, he can still be humble, humbled, and real.  
Of no real difference to anyone reading this, I had homemade chicken soup that his wife made, and my first ever toasted salmon sandwich.  It was good and I realized I have been missing out on this tasty slice of life.  Mmmm.  I wonder if she caters?
Mercy Train is currently in studio right now working on the new album coming out in 2011.  We listened to the tracks that they have down so far and I must say, it is going to be a great album and I would encourage anyone to get their hands on a copy.  These guys have a solid full sound that spans worship and rock, with a consistent message throughout about God, his love, grace and of course, his Mercy.
I will be heading with Skip to the studio next week to meet the rest of the band and spend some time with them while they record.
To add to an already unique experience, Skip let me hold one of his Juno awards, and like Morgan’s camera, I had never held anything like in my hands before.  Skip’s wife wanted his awards to be on the shelf in the living room, although he doesn’t hold on to the past with anything other than his memories.  He is indeed humble.  Talented and gifted, but humble and gracious.
I am so blessed to meet people on my own way through life that, if it weren’t for God’s hand, I just wouldn’t meet.  I am constantly reminded that whether it’s you or me, Morgan or Skip, everyone has a story.  
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